The Joy & Heartache of Experiencing God’s Favor

1 Samuel #18: an exposition of 1 Samuel 18:1-30. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, April 29, 2012.

I don’t like clutter.  I’m not fanatical about it but I am a straightener.  If you come into my office you will generally find things neat and in order but whatever you do – don’t open a draw!  You see my neatness only goes so far.  Out of sight out of mind.  I want the appearance of neat and orderly.  I’m the same way with life.  I like it neat and orderly.  I want things to be the way they are “supposed” to be.  The problem, of course, is that life is seldom as it is supposed to be.  Thus I’m not averse to rearranging the facts to give the appearance all is well.  When it comes to matters of faith we want things clean.  If you love and serve the Lord all will be well.  Good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.  That’s the way it works in the fantasy world unfortunately we live in the real world, a world marred by sin, corrupted by the Fall.  In this world it rains on the just and the unjust.  In this world righteous suffer, often through no fault of their own.  Such is the case in our text this evening.

He was the youngest child in the family.
As such he was given the menial task of shepherding the family’s flocks.
One day the prophet of God showed up and anointed him king of Israel!

Some time later he visited the front lines of a battle between Israel and their arch enemy the Philistines.  When he arrived he could not believe his eyes.  The giant Goliath stood mocking the armies of the living God.  Not once, but twice a day for 40 days.  The army of Israel cowered in silence while their king did nothing.  You know the story – David defeated Goliath, the army of Israel then routed their enemy and everyone rejoiced.

David now moves center stage in the story but not to live happily ever after.  His is a roller coaster existence filled with highs and lows, twists and turns.  A man blessed of God, the object of great affection on the part of some and great hostility on the part of others.  A man after God’s own heart and yet a man flawed and broken.  This evening I want us to focus on chapter 18 as the biblical writer helps us to learn that…

Thesis: In a fallen, twisted world the blessing of God brings both profound joy and unexpected heartache.

Text: 1 Samuel 18:1-30

There are three things I want to call to your attention from this text.

  1. The blessing of God brings about a profound friendship.  (18:1-5)
  2. The blessing of God leads to a smoldering resentment and increasing hostility.  (18:6-16)
  3. The blessing of God results in a mocking gesture of love and respect.  (18:17-30)

I wish I could say, “Just love Jesus and everything will be alright.”  The truth is faith in Christ does not eliminate your struggles in fact it will create quite a few struggles of its own!  The promise is not a stress-free existence and smooth sailing but rather God’s presence in the midst of the storm.  Our peace and comfort are anchor in the “greater David” who himself knew the joy and unexpected heartache of God’s favor.  His life produces the response of both profound love and intense hatred.  It is one of the reason why we long for His appearing.  It is why all of creation groans for the new heaven and the new earth.  In the meantime we find our peace and rest in the person of the Lord Jesus.

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